Culture Division reflects on the significance of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

“Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, audio and video recordings, contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries.” —UNESCO


This year UNESCO’s theme for World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is Archives at Risk: Protecting the World’s Identities. Celebrated on the 27 October annually, the observance has roots in a 1980 recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images. The first observance of World Day for Audiovisual Heritage was in 2005.

The main objectives of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage are identified as

  • raising public awareness of the need for preservation;
  • providing opportunities to celebrate specific local, national or international aspects of the heritage;
  •  highlighting the accessibility of archives;
  •   attracting media attention to heritage issues;
  • raising the cultural status of the audiovisual heritage;
  •  highlighting audiovisual heritage in danger, especially in developing countries.

The Culture Division plays a part in safeguarding our cultural heritage and has made efforts to do so through varied projects since inception. Two of the most recent efforts are the establishment of the Remember When Institute in 2010 and the 2014 Heritage Preservation module of the 2014 Mentoring by the Masters programme.

The Remember Wremember when logohen Institute holds audiovisual records spanning indigenous festivals and traditions such as Best Village, Calypso, Chowtal and more. They also have embarked on a content digitisation project to further safeguard these holdings. Hear more about the Institute by clicking on the link below:

Overview of Remember When Institute

“Countries that do not offer sufficient “original” information, (i.e. information that doesn’t come from a third party), immediately accessible on-line, risk being forgotten totally from the international consciousness…”

— Excerpt from “Filling the Online Content Gap” (Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce Publication) Read more of the article here.

It is important to make mention of other efforts to safeguard our cultural heritage records and note the extensive work and catalogue also of Banyan Productions and a recently announced renewed effort by the Ministry of Communications to digitize treasured local content in the holdings of NALIS, the National Archives and other governmental organisations. The role of locally-produced docu-films is also a nod to this effort such as Pan: Our Music Odyssey and Ten Days of Muharram (two productions supported by our Ministry).

The Heritage Preservation cohort of the 2014 Mentoring by the Masters programme spent just over two months under the mentorship of Joseph Valley. They learned integral skills necessary for heritage preservation through film and produced group documentaries on various cultural heritage areas. We will be making these films and other content available for viewing on our YouTube channel beginning in November 2015.

We want you to be a part of celebrating World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and invite you to share your own records of our culture throughout this week. Show us what you may have captured at the most recent local festivals or celebrations like First Peoples’ Heritage Week, Hosay, Ramleela or even further back.

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